Birdmania. The Story of a Remarkable Passion
Ornithomania. Geschichte einer besonderen Leidenschaft

brunner ornithomania
Galiani Berlin
September 2015 / 200pp
  • English-language rights sold

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (CA).


Bernd Brunner’s own fascination with birds infuses every page of this wonderfully quirky book, which starts from the premise that we are all birdwatchers, whether we know it or not. The book presents a series of thumbnail sketches of individuals throughout history and from all over the world who have been interested in birds, either as a hobby or a profession. These birders come from all strata of society, from royalty through the educated classes to foresters, even including an Auschwitz guard. Brunner also discusses developments in general attitudes to birds, such as the founding of the RSPB in England, and the influence of modern technology on our relationship with birds. 

A number of famous people appear in these pages: St Francis, who regarded birds as his brothers; Mozart, who mourned the death of a starling which imitated his compositions; Aristotle, who described the character of birds; Leonardo, who was the first to work on a flying machine to imitate birds’ flight; and Teddy Roosevelt, who banned ladies from wearing birds’ feathers in their hats. This is a tapestry of many colours and infinite variety, packed with scholarship and knowledge.

about the author

Bernd Brunner was born in 1964. For the past decade he has been writing entertaining, high-profile books at the intersection between cultural and scientific history. His subjects have included the invention of the Christmas tree, our fascination with the moon and the relationship between humans and bears.

Previous rights sold:
China, Estonia, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and the USA.

Previous works include:

Die Kunst des Liegens (2012)

rights information

Translation rights available from:

Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch
Contact: Iris Brandt
Tel: +49 221 376850
Email: /

Galiani Berlin is an imprint of Kiepenheuer & Witsch. For further information please contact NBG.

translation assistance

The Goethe-Institut supported the English translation of this book.

Get information on the English version here (CA).

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All recommendations from Autumn 2015